In The Wisconsin Supper Clubs Story: An Illustrated History, with Relish, the third in his popular series, Ron Faiola invites readers to pull up a chair as he regales us with more than a century of history behind this beloved dining tradition, guiding readers from London to Hollywood, to New York City, and finally, to his own home state.
The journey begins with the world’s very first supper clubs, which emerged in London in the mid-1800s. The phenomenon was adopted by New York’s restaurant and saloon owners in the late 1800s, and soon spread to suburban and rural areas. Across the United States, supper clubs enhanced culinary and dining traditions, and greatly influenced the evolution of live entertainment such as cabaret, comedy, and jazz, and dance crazes such as “The Charleston,” “Turkey Trot,” and the eyebrow-raising “Wiggle Wiggle.”
Faiola unfolds the history of Wisconsin’s supper clubs with stories of its most iconic establishments, such as Ray Radigan’s, Hoffman House, and Fazio’s on Fifth. He reveals the remarkable durability of the supper club tradition as it withstood WWI, the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, Prohibition, the Great Depression, WWII, as well as the mid-twentieth century advent of fast food franchises and casual dining chains. Through their innovation and determination, supper club owners and their staff have managed not only to survive, but to maintain generations-spanning restaurants that remain prominent features of their communities to this day.
Bursting with full-color photographs, newspaper clippings, and first-hand interviews, The Wisconsin Supper Clubs Story: An Illustrated History, with Relish offers a hearty buffet of the history of Wisconsin’s most iconic supper clubs and the folks who keep the cocktails poured, the relish trays fresh, and ensure there’s always an open seat at the table.
“A glorious look at a Wisconsin tradition, Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old-Fashioned Experience [is] a glossy 225-page book that just might make your mouth water.” —William Hagemen, Chicago Tribune
“[A] compelling, delightful and—not to make too much of it—important documentary…. Ron Faiola [is] a genius filmmaker.” —Rick Kogan
“Ron Faiola is passionate about food. He is the author of Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old-Fashioned Experience, a coffee table book chronicling the unique Wisconsin tradition of the supper club…. Faiola put 5,000 miles on his car traveling to every corner of the state to capture the timeless charm of the supper club.” —BizTimes Milwaukee
“Prime rib, Friday night fish frys, and relish trays are the stuff of legend in Wisconsin…. But the supper club is a relic, so [author Ron Faiola] is hoping to bring them back into fashion…[Wisconsin Supper Clubs] documents 50 of the states most enduring time capsules.” —Steve Dolinsky, ABC 7 News, Chicago
“A beautiful book…you read this book and not only does your mouth start watering, but you start thinking kind of expansively [about] weekend getaway opportunities…. I heartily endorse it.” —Bill Moller, WGN Radio
“Faiola went to [great lengths to] get the right shots for his coffee-table book, Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old-Fashioned Experience. He spent 10 weeks on the road last year, traversing the state to visit dozens upon dozens of the state’s emblematic restaurants.” —Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
“Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old Fashioned Experience is a mouthwatering tour of rarefied restaurants from another era that has me thinking of excursions northward.” —Peter Exley, Chicago Reader
“Ron Faiola has become Wisconsin’s legacy filmmaker.” —David Luhrssen, Express Milwaukee
“Wisconsin-native Ron Faiola recently released a book—Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old-Fashioned Experience—which showcases some of the finest supper clubs in the state and shows why supper clubs are such a big part of Wisconsin’s food culture.” —State Senator Tom Tiffany, Wisconsin’s 12th Senate District
“Faiola’s book goes behind the scenes at 50 Dairy State restaurants, offering photos, stories, and his take on each of the clubs.” —Wisconsin State Journal
“In his new book Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old-Fashioned Experience, writer/filmmaker Ron Faiola…traveled across Wisconsin and profiled 50 Supper Clubs…hallmarks include brandy Old Fashioneds, Friday night fish fry, prime rib, relish trays, lake views, taxidermy, glowing vintage beer lights, Packers paraphernalia, and more.” —Paula Forbes, Eater.com, National page
“Milwaukee filmmaker Ron Faiola has made an homage to the throwback restaurants to our north that are very much alive and well.” —Joanne Trestrail, Crain’s Chicago Business
“The book treats each club, about fifty in all, to a few pages of text about the experience, complimented with a generous serving of pictures that are equal parts Americana and food porn…. It’s easy to see how people get inspired to take eating tours of Wisconsin.” —Dave Robson, Daily XY